Tuesday, January 19, 2016
White collar crime in sports has been a topic of much discussion over the last year, including the widespread coverage of corruption allegations against high ranking officials with FIFA (discussed here). Now it appears that the tennis word is coming under greater scrutiny as a BuzzFeed and BBC article is released discussing what they describe as "widespread match-fixing by players at the upper level of world tennis."
The article, entitled The Tennis Racket, was released over the weekend and immediately provoked much discussion. The story details evidence of match-fixing, including the involvement of Russian and Italian gambling syndicates. According to the authors, tennis's governing body has been repeatedly warned about the activities of a core group of sixteen players, each of whom has ranked in the top 50 and some of whom are winners of singles and doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. According to the report, none of the sixteen have been sanctioned and more than half will be playing in the Australian Open, which started today. Included in the article is a fascinating discussion of a 2007 match in which the betting was so suspicious, Betfair (the world's largest internet betting exchange) suspended the market and announced for the first time in its history that all bets on the match were void.
After the release of this article, it appears all eyes over the next couple of weeks will be on both the matches at the Australian Open and these serious allegations of misconduct. The question now is whether this story will mark the beginning of a journey for the tennis world similar to the one the soccer world has experienced over the last year.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
The Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI) released a special Blue Ribbon Panel report, Principles and Practices of High Quality Ethics & Compliance Programs. The report is a discussion draft, and they are seeking comments and suggestions from colleagues and other members of the public. The draft report can be found here - Download FinalBRPReport
The deadline for comments is January 8th, but they asked that those needing more time to contact their office.
Monday, January 4, 2016
Guest Blogger - Dmitriy Kamensky, Fulbright Faculty Development Fellow, Stetson University College of Law; Professor of Law, Berdyansk State University, Ukraine.
On Dec. 30, just as corporate and the rest of America was getting ready to celebrate the New Year, one of the top-tier Swiss banks, Julius Baer Group, announced (see here) that it had reached an agreement in principle with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, related to a long and extensive investigation into aiding American customers to evade millions of tax dollars. The bank said it set aside $ 547 million to settle the matter with the Justice Department and expects to enter a final settlement in the first quarter of 2016.
This final development of the Julius Baer case is the latest of about a dozen Swiss financial institutions that came under DOJ scrutiny for allegedly providing American customers (and taxpayers) with numbered accounts that were protected by Swiss bank-secrecy laws, thus effectively helping U.S. taxpayers underreport their taxes.
In February of 2009, UBS AG, the largest Swiss bank worth over $ 1 trillion in assets, entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the Department of Justice for $780 million (see here). The bank has acknowledged that between 2000 and 2007 it has participated in a cross-border scheme with the purpose of defrauding the United States and the Internal Revenue Service. The scheme was designed to aid American customers in evading federal taxes, by dodging their money to numbered UBS accounts. Under growing pressure from the U.S. authorities, the bank and later the Swiss government agreed to cooperate, by granting access to American accounts and later relaxing bank secrecy laws altogether.
Then in 2014 another larger Swiss lender, Credit Suisse Group AG, moved to settle a similar criminal probe by pleading guilty to conspiracy to aid its American clients in filing false income tax returns with the IRS. The bank agreed to pay $ 2.6 billion in criminal fine, restitution and other penalties (see here).
With the case of Julius Baer outlining the final part of multiyear aggressive probes by DOJ into the Swiss banking industry and tax dodging operations, it becomes clear that bankers across the globe are being given a serious (and quite expensive) warning: do not mess with American tax laws; federal prosecutors and tax agents have long arms.
Saturday, January 2, 2016
Each year this blog has honored individuals and organizations for their work in the white collar crime arena by bestowing "The Collar" on those who deserve praise, scorn, acknowledgment, blessing, curse, or whatever else might be appropriate. With the appropriate fanfare, and without further ado, The Collars for 2015:
The Collar for Make-Believe Julius Caesar – To Deputy AG Sally Yates who issued a “new” corporate divide and conquer memo, pitting companies against their employees in a supposed effort to “get tough” on high-level corporate wrongdoers, only to see it followed up by GM’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement. She came, she saw, she whimpered.
The Collar for Forced Government Product Recall—To Preet Bharara who was ordered by the Second Circuit to recall his spoiled brand of insider trading prosecutions.
The Collar for Bargain Shopping – To DOJ, which might consider shopping its insider trading cases out of Manhattan following the Newman decision.
The Collar for Newspeak (aka the Orwell Collar)—To DOJ's Office of Public Affairs for its press release celebrating the Don Blankenship verdict.
The Collar for Best Singing of "Silence is Golden" – To DOJ for issuing press releases when there is a conviction and nothing when the jury returns a not guilty or a court dismisses the case.
The Collar for Arm-Twisting—To Deputy AG Sally Yates, whose memo spawned a sudden outbreak of corporate throwing--under the bus.
The Collar for Wishful Thinking—To Karl Rove for speculating in his Wall Street Journal column that Hilary Clinton might be indicted.
The Collar for Delusional Thinking—To "bad boy" Martin Shkreli for complaining to the Wall Street Journal that the indictment against him, "doesn't tell my side of the story at all."
The Collar for Hallucinatory Thinking—To Representative Trey Gowdy for thinking that anybody, on either side of the political aisle, really cared about the substance of his special committee’s findings.
The Collar for Favorite Don Quixote Judicial Noodge (aka the Tilting Against Windmills Collar)—To Judge Alex Kozinski who bravely and repeatedly urges his fellow federal judges to deter Brady violations where they matter--in the courtroom.
The Collar for Creative Writing (aka the E.E. Cummings Collar)—To the New Orleans U.S. Attorney's Office, whose prosecutors made anonymous prejudicial comments in local online newspaper stories about the defendants they were prosecuting.
The Collar for Creative Storytelling—To the same New Orleans U.S. Attorney's Office, whose prosecutors denied in open court all knowledge of anonymous prejudicial comments. This resulted in a dismissal with prejudice upheld this year by the Fifth Circuit.
The Collar for Prejudicial Law Enforcement Statements (aka the John Ashcroft Collar)—To the F.B.I. for its spokesperson's public "anonymous" comment that the charges against Martin Shkreli represented "a trifecta of lies, deceit, and greed."
The Collar for Professional Irresponsibility—To the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York for allowing the FBI to perp-walk Martin Shkreli in front of television cameras.
The Collar for the Fishiest Title on a DOJ Press Release — "Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee Abandon Tuna Merger After Justice Department Expresses Serious Concerns"
The Collar for Forcing the DOJ to Call Soccer “Football” – To FIFA for the ongoing corruption investigation in the United States and Europe
The Collar for Defending the Attorney-Client Privilege – To the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for overturning a lower court decision in the case of In re Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc. that “generated substantial uncertainty about the scope of the attorney-client privilege in the business setting."
The Collar for Attempting to Make the Guinness Book of Records for the Longest Investigation – Yet again, to Congress for its investigation of the IRS.
The Collar for Food for Thought in Sentencing – To Stewart Parnell, who received a sentence of 28 years in prison after conviction on charges related to his involvement in a deadly nationwide salmonella outbreak
The Collar for the Case Most Needing Review – Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s conviction.
The Collar for Rat-Catching – To Antitrust for having the highest percentage of substantial assistance motions in the 4th quarter.
The Collar for Judicial Watchdog—To EDVA District Judge Gerald Lee. When the EDVA U.S. Attorney’s Office sent an official letter to potential defense witnesses informing them that they were actually victims, Judge Lee made prosecutors prepare a corrected version setting the record straight.
The Collar for the Best Child– To Don Siegelman’s daughter, who continues to fight to Free Don.
The Collar for the Best Parent - Retired years ago and renamed the Bill Olis Best Parent Award –not awarded again this year since no one comes even close to Bill Olis, may he rest in peace.